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Georgia opens new state park
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The Chattahoochee River originates in the mountains of Northeast Georgia and flows through the city of Atlanta then works its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The "Hooch" is best known because it supplies water to our capital and lately has been the subject of a controversy over water rights with Alabama. Now the river is the subject of a new and refreshing topic.

A miracle for outdoor lovers has just happened. In the middle of a recession and at a time when state funding for state parks has been slashed by nearly half since 2008, Georgia has opened a beautiful new state park. Chattahoochee Bend is the first one to open in nearly twenty years – the last being Tallulah Gorge in 1993. Chattahoochee Bend is earning praise as a "new model for the state park system" based on the monetary and work efforts of the local community to make it happen. The park gets its name from a majestic horseshoe curve in the river on the site.

The park was made possible through a combination of financial and in-kind donations. Money from the state, Coweta County, the federal government and the Robert Woodruff Foundation as well as work efforts of a multitude volunteers combined to make it happen. Friends of Chattahoochee Bend, an organization dedicated to seeing this dream come to fruition spearheaded the volunteer efforts and their efforts have paid off handsomely.

Kim Hatcher, Department of Natural Resources spokesperson, said "The people in this community wanted this so badly. It wouldn’t be here without them."

Chattahoochee Bend is situated on a magnificent piece of property located in the northwest corner of Coweta County. It boasts seven miles of frontage on the Chattahoochee River and at 2910 acres is one of the states largest parks. Georgia’s newest gem is a haven for those who enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities and is especially appealing to those who enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking and camping. It is located between two established boat ramps making it convenient for paddlers to take advantage of the entire stretch with little trouble.

Among the amenities the park has to offer are fifty one camp sites including 25 RV sites with a forty foot maximum, 16 riverside platform camp sites, 12 tent / walk-in sites and 10 tent / pop-up camp sites. The RV sites cost $25-$28 per night, the riverside sites are $20 per night, the walk-in sites cost $25 per night and the pop-up sites are also $25 per night (15 foot maximum).

Additionally there are 4 camping shelters that cost $35 per night or $110 for all 4. These shelters are screened Adirondack style and are ideal for groups who want to camp together.

Other activities include six miles of hiking trails and an observation platform, canoeing and kayaking, picnicking, a playground, and geocaching. There are also two picnic shelters that rent for $65 and a boat ramp is also located on the property. There are no rentals for canoeing and kayaking at this point but there is an outfitter in nearby Whitesburg.

There’s plenty to do outside the park as well. The Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park and Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic site are situated nearby as well as beautiful Callaway Gardens. If checking out the antique stores is more to your liking historic downtown Newnan provides an abundance of those.

There are specific directions on Google Maps but those instructions leave off the last right turn onto Flatrock Road. General directions from Atlanta are to take I-85 South to exit 47 close to Newnan. Then follow the Google Maps instructions.

Park hours are from 7:00 AM til 10:00 PM and park office hours are 8:00 AM til 5:00 PM. The phone number for reservations is 800-864-7275 and the park office number is 770-254-7271.

Georgia’s newest state park is but one example. It is always a treat to go see what nature has to offer, to pursue outdoor hobbies, to see new places and to be in close proximity with people who enjoy the same things. Additionally it is important that our children be introduced at a young age to these activities.

Our kids live in an age of technology and gadgetry and our outdoor heritage is going to be lost if we don’t make it a point to get them out there and interested in the natural world. Get them off the couch and out from behind a computer screen. Expose them to different kinds of outdoor fun and they will figure out what really interests them. Chattahoochee Bend might be just the ticket.


Alvin Richardson can be reached at